Saturday 12 March 2016

"Looking forward to Saturday's ride .... Where is Drury?"

...was the email reply by one lady last week!

Drury, a tiny outpost of Buckley; where on a Sunday ride last August we passed a cafe and farm shop - and I noted this new cafe thinking it was not too far out!

I managed to get everyone signed and and outside - but sent off the FF group without a photo (whoops!) so after the safety talk Mr Rosie took our picture, and we were able to head out.  I had enough leaders today, but was in jeopardy of losing two at the cafe, as they both lived near to the cafe (well, nearer than coming all the way back to Chester!)

My head had stopped working, so Linda reminded me of her route, and we set off in two groups, but following each other.  The allowed us to catch up and wait from time to time.

One of the great things about cycling in Chester is that you come across different events through the year. Today was no exception as we negotiated the North of England 'Head of the River' race.  ("Established in 1935,as a 5km race for eights on the river Dee from Eccleston Ferry to the Groves, the first winners were Thames RC in a time of 18min 35sec.").  It was not a problem, we went slowly and tinged our bells, the rowers were all very lovely and polite (unlike the grumpy man who appeared
to be having a go at some girls for 'parking' their boat on the path outside his house - on the riverside.  It meant he as not able to swing in /out of his driveway in a manner he so desired and so had to have a go at them.  Well, don't buy a house on the river, next to an established rowing club, who may have races - oh, and get a smaller car you can manage!)

We continued to the racecourse, past the lovely display of daffodils outside whet is now Chester Uni (Used to be County Hall), and then stopped for a little re-group, to check Linda's group had safely navigated the boats.

We continued to follow the river, until Saltney Ferry bridge, where we met a bicycle polo player and his wife (he was just pottering along ion his bike with his polo stick and ball, she was jogging).  She thought it was fabulous to see a ladies cycling club, and wanted to stay in touch (I directed her to the Facebook pages and blog) - a little bit of networking can't go amiss!

We climbed up towards Hawarden, and dropped to Broughton, picking up the small lane that cuts out the roundabout - I do think it gives a cracking view of the runway, especially when it is lit up on a gloomy morning like today. (you may have to click on the photo to enlarge it and see lights!)

We climbed up the Old Warren, a bit of a surprise hill for some, and paused as we went through the gate at the top.  By now the weather had turned to fine misty rain - "the sort of rain you wouldn't notice if you were indoors"....

Not far now, through the Hawarden bluebell woods, short climb into Buckley, turning just after the railway line, and we arrived.  The faster group were already firmly established, as were our Wrexham chums (again - mind you we have not crossed paths for a little while!)

Wrexham Cafe Hoppers heading home

A lovely and quite large cafe was waiting, the cakes looked amazing and apparently the toilets were nice and new (I was too busy chatting!!).  The faster group made tracks and left us, and we headed off by about twenty to one after half an hour at the cafe.

By now it was decidedly damp, and the downhill to Ewloe left us dripping!

I managed to negotiate the big roundabout, and we navigated around and dropped down to Queensferry, where roadworks meant it was safer and easier to edge into the flow of traffic waiting at the lights, and turn right together and head for the blue bridge

Then we have a cycle path that brings us nicely back to the Greenway, by the other blue bridge, which we do not often see from underneath.

Many thanks to Alex for leading the faster ones out and Jane for bringing them back; to Linda for the route and also leading a second regular group out; and finally to Mary who shepherded the last riders back in (I had to head home as fast as my little legs will take me - which is not very! - for a family party in Manchester)

25 riders all together, 25 regular miles;